Food In Canada

Innovation Inspiration from GIC

Birgit Blain   

Research & Development Food Trends Specialty Foods food trends Innovation

Trade shows can reveal a wealth of innovative ideas and this year’s Grocery Innovations Canada show (GIC) was no exception. Here are four brands that demonstrate how innovation strategies can deliver better solutions to meet changing consumer needs.

Convenience is a huge influencer of purchase decisions and shoppers will pay more for it. All of these products have a convenience factor.

goh-goh granolaResurrecting Cereal

The problem with eating cereal on the run is bringing the milk. Sunny Crunch Foods rose to the occasion, reinventing cereal as an all-in-one solution. goh-goh™ Granola with whole milk needs no refrigeration. It’s the new “nutritious portable food”. Just add warm or cold water, stir and voilà! Cereal with milk. It’s the ideal grab-n-go product for retail and food service. But they might want to add a spoon.

agnesi-pastaBreaking with Tradition

Pasta has been around for centuries and is a mainstay in North American households. But it takes precious time to prepare a meal.


Agnesi, producer of traditional Italian pasta since 1824, took on the challenge of making dry pasta more convenient. Literally thinking “out of the box”, they developed a new die design that reduced the cooking time to 3 minutes for a single serving. Simmered in your favourite sauce and water, pasta is transformed into a one pan meal. Fast, easy, convenient. For more information contact Italpasta, the exclusive distributor.

choc-whip-creamÜber Indulgence

The familiar whoosh of whipped cream dispensed from the pressurized metal canister dates back to the mid 20th century. Not much has changed, until now.

Hot on the heels of developing dairy-free coconut whipped cream, GayLea has launched ultra decadent Dark Chocolate Caramel Whipped Cream. With a luxurious, mousse-like mouth feel it elevates desserts and beverages to the epitome of indulgence.

The problem it solves? For consumers, it’s instant gratification, satisfying their craving for an indulgent reward at the end of a stressful day. And it’s an easy way to create an impressive dessert for guests. For retailers, it attracts shoppers to the category and can generate incremental sales. For Gaylea, it’s a delicious differentiator that gives them something to brag about.

New Eating Occasion

Changing the packaging format can influence consumers to use a product differently, thereby generating incremental sales and merchandising opportunities.

Case in point: Sabra’s squeeze bottle transforms hummus from a dip to a topping with no spoon required. Just a squeeze delivers a convenient flavour enhancer for sandwiches, meats and hors d’oeuvres.


Innovation is a necessity for top and bottom line growth in today’s rapidly changing, highly competitive market. The possibilities are endless.

Birgit Blain makes food products more marketable by applying her retail expertise to strategy, branding and packaging. Her experience includes 17 years with Loblaw and President’s Choice®. Learn more at or contact her at

 © Birgit Blain


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